Hannah Langtry graduated from the Newhouse School in 2019 with a master’s in audio arts. While at Newhouse, she participated in the program’s winter networking trip to Los Angeles and held an instructional associate position in the Setnor School of Music. Langtry currently works as an executive administrative assistant at A2IM.
“Newhouse prepared me the most by providing me with hands-on experience with technology that I would not be able to afford otherwise and by allowing me to manage an artist for my capstone project.”Hannah Langtry, G’19
How did you obtain your current position?
This would be the first “career job” I have had, actually. I had applied to over a hundred positions without luck in my first few months living in New York City. Todd Herreman (a wonderful professor and director of Audio Arts) reached out to inform me of a position open at A2IM to be a membership coordinator. He knew the president and CEO of A2IM. I excitedly applied and made it to the final stages of interviews and walked out of the final one convinced I got the job, just to find out they chose someone else. I was heartbroken, truly. The HR director asked me if they could keep my information on file for any future open positions, and of course I said yes, but I figured they were just saying that to make me feel better and didn’t actually refer back to older applications. Three months later, the HR director emailed me asking if I was interested in interviewing for another position at A2IM—the one I have now—because they felt I was a great candidate. They wanted someone who could manage accounts and I had experience due to a previous job I held in customer service and sales at a family-owned music store in my hometown.
What’s an average day like for you on the job?
There are only 10 of us. I currently work virtually in my hometown and I spend most of my time replying to emails, writing invoices, applying payments to the appropriate accounts, attending planning meetings for our events, searching through music business news, assisting my boss with his calendar, and listening to music. We are a non-profit supported by membership and I am responsible for writing and receiving all annual invoices for our members along with invoices for any sponsorships we have. It’s a lot of customer service, support, working in our CMR and in Quickbooks, and staying organized on who needs an invoice in each month. In the spring, we spend all of our time preparing for our annual Indie Week/Libera Awards that happen in June. Sometimes, we have staff happy hours where we just talk about whatever and play Jackbox games!
How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current job?
Newhouse taught me resilience and how to stand out in a crowd of people who want the same position and have the same area of study as me. Newhouse encouraged me to narrow down my area of specialty and become an expert in that area in order to stand out. I have to give so much credit to Professor Bill Werde—he was not easy on us starting on day 1 in bootcamp where he told us he would never sugarcoat things and he would be honest to us about our attitudes. Newhouse taught me the importance of staying informed about upcoming technology, and as far as hard skills, I got experience using some of this technology. I made a 360 degree music video, I 3D printed a guitar hook, I experimented with binaural audio and did endless research and studying about virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, and upcoming A&R scouting technology. (Thank you Sean Branagan and Ulf Oesterle.) Overall, Newhouse prepared me the most by providing me with hands—on experience with technology that I would not be able to afford otherwise and by allowing me to manage an artist for my capstone project. Lastly, elevator pitches; I got so much practice with those.
What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it in the first place?
The winter trip to LA (one of the best weeks of my life, by the way), the small class sizes, both the Newhouse recording studio and the Belfer studio, the experience that the directors of the program had, and the ability to split my studies between music business and audio production. Lastly, the 14-month program span since I was very nervous about paying for grad school.
What are some obstacles or misconceptions about your field that students ought to be aware of?
Unfortunately, it will be harder than usual to find a job because of the pandemic, especially if you want to work in the independent community like I did. Definitely not impossible, but I think fewer companies are looking to hire right now. The positive side of the coin with the pandemic, however, is that companies will be more willing to hire you to work virtually which means you don’t necessarily have to live in an expensive city. Another obstacle is that the music industry is run by white men for the most part, and I notice that women are generally much quieter in meetings. This is changing though—we are actively working on changing it.
A misconception, which was unfortunately taught to me mostly by the people I met in LA during our trip there, is that you have to take crappy jobs and work for crappy bosses the beginning of your career for little to no pay and your opinion will most likely not be valued. I can confirm that it will most likely take you a while to find a job doing what you want to do—that is just the reality of the entertainment business—but that does not mean that you have to take insulting jobs in the meantime. Instead, try to find a stable job in a parallel industry and take side gigs in the music industry that may not pay you, but give you valuable experience to build your resume. When I was working as pet store associate for less than minimum wage in New York City with a master’s degree, I was also still managing my artist friend’s socials and finding him gigs in New York City.
What advice do you have for current or incoming students?
Do not take gigs that don’t give you the appropriate credit that you’ve earned. Yes, you’re a student, but your work is valuable and you will regret not receiving the credit—especially if you’re not being paid. Your name should be in the credits roll or in the album notes. Second, your age and your upcoming status as a recent graduate is actually quite valuable in the workplace. When you’re interviewing, talk about the fascinating technology and projects Newhouse offers you—most likely, no other candidate has that experience. As far as your time in school, try new things! If this means you have to take on a really heavy semester because you’re in a 14-month program, do it. I regret not taking more audio classes in Newhouse, such as Sound for Picture. Most importantly, get involved in every project you possibly can handle—that is the experience that is the most valuable.